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Japan PM Shinzo Abe defends his World War I remarks

Updated: 2014-01-27 21:56:50 (KST)
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Controversial remarks by NHK's new president Katsuto Momii are being met with heavy criticism.
At his inaugural news conference on Saturday, Momii said that women have been used as sex slaves by the militaries of many countries throughout history, not just Japan.
He also criticized Korea for continuing to demand that Tokyo compensate Korean victims of sexual enslavement by the Japanese military during World War II.
Japan argues the issue had been settled by a bilateral peace treaty.
According to Japan's Asahi Shimbun, a high-ranking executive of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said that Momii's "comfort women" remarks could lead to his dismissal as NHK chairman.
Observers say this also is likely to affect the Japanese parliament's budget deliberations for NHK, which are due to start in March.
Momii must stand before the House of Representatives when those deliberations start, and several opposition members of parliament have expressed their intent to grill him when they do.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to defend his likening of current Japan-China relations to those of Britain and Germany before World War I, saying that there was nothing inappropriate about what he said.
While in Davos last week, Abe explained that Britain and Germany - like Japan and China today - had a strong trading relationship, although the strategic bilateral relations did not stop the two countries from going to war in 1914.
Japan has denied that Abe's comments were intended to suggest that war is inevitable, and China's foreign ministry has responded by calling the remarks "inappropriate."

[STAND-UP]
"Some say Japan's central role in the heightened tensions in Northeast Asia may play a major role in U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's decision over whether to visit Tokyo when he comes to the region next month.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News."


Reporter : yjkim@arirang.co.kr

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